St Mary’s Church

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Thixendale is a very attractive village set in deep valley in depths of the Yorkshire Wolds. In the summer, it is a tourist honey pot and a sign advertises Sunday teas with home made cakes. It is an attractive estate village belonging to the Sykes of Sledmere House who owned much of the land here. The church, former vicarage and the school (now the village hall) were all built by Sir Tatton Sykes in the C19th

Previously there had been a chapel of ease in the village, but the vicar complained that congregations were reduced by the use of these chapels. It was closed, leaving the church at Wharram Percy to serve all the local villages. In 1854 the school room was licensed for public worship but was unable to carry out baptisms, weddings or funerals. The church was built in 1869 in Victorian Gothic by GE Street for Sir Tatton Sykes II. Arguments between Street and Church officials led to delays in consecration.

It is a small simple building with a small south aisle, north porch and a bell cote above the chancel arch.

A yew tree lined path leads to the church and entry is through the north door.

The octagonal font is at the back of the nave, standing in small apsidal baptistry. Above it is a large rose window. On the back wall is a small wooden triptych with St George in the centre and the names of the dead of from the First World War on either side.

An arcade with pointed arches separates the nave from the south aisle. The nave is simple with no decoration apart from the painted motif on the wooden beams of the roof. The nave windows are by Clayton and Bell. The creation window on north wall is outstanding quality and the designs were used for the wall paintings at “Garton on the Wolds Church. “: It is a very modern design for the C19th.

There is a carved stone pulpit with blind trefoliate arches on the base and quatrefoils round the rim. Beneath the pointed chancel arch is a heavy oak rood screen.

Steps lead up to the chancel with a carved wood altar surrounded by brightly coloured floor tiles. The iron work on the altar rail would originally have been painted. Behind the altar is a beautiful stone reredos with seven blind trefoliate arches set with green marble. On either side are decorative tiles with IHS motifs and green surrounds. The big window at the east end is by Burlison & Grylls. This was installed in 1894 to replace a window which was showing signs of deterioration. In the centre is Virgin Mary being crowned by angels. On either side are Isaiah and Malachi. Below is the Annunciation.

The wagon roof of the chancel is painted with IHS and small white cross on blue background. Around are trailing vine stems with leaves and grapes.

This is an attractive church in an even more attractive village. There is a knob by the light switches by the door for an audio tour of the church.

The church is open daily and there is ramped access. When we visited, there was plenty of parking along the village street.

There are more pictures “here.”:

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